MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A new Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that more than half of Filipinos support President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao, but more than 6 out of 10 Filipinos oppose expanding military rule to the Visayas and Luzon.
The survey, held from June 23 to 26, found that 57% of Filipinos agreed with Duterte's decision to declare martial law in Mindanao last May 23, prompted by clashes between the military and terrorists in Marawi City. (READ: TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in all of Mindanao)
The survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults nationwide. It has sampling error margins of +/-3 points for national percentages and +/-6 for regional percentages.
While majority agreed with Duterte's decision, 29% of the respondents said martial law should have been declared only for Marawi City and the rest of Lanao del Sur, while 11% said it should have been declared only for Marawi City, the rest of Lanao del Sur, and nearby provinces.
But on the issue of expanding martial law to the Visayas and Luzon – which Duterte said he was considering if the threat of terrorism persists – majority of the respondents disagreed, except for those in Mindanao.
The survey found that 63% of the respondents oppose expanding martial law to the Visayas, while 67% oppose expanding it to Luzon.
Support from Mindanaoans
Mindanaoans made up the highest proportion of respondents who supported Duterte's decision for martial law in Mindanao, with 64% of respondents concurring. They were followed by respondents from Metro Manila at 58%, the Visayas at 57%, and Balance Luzon at 53%.
Among the socioeconomic classes, support was highest among Class ABC respondents at 70%, followed by Class E at 58%, and Class D at 56%.
Among the age groups, those 55 years old and above made up the highest proportion of respondents who agreed with Duterte, at 68%. They were followed by 18 to 24 year olds at 59%, 25 to 34 year olds at 53%, 35 to 44 year olds at 52%, and 45 to 54 year olds at 51%.
Opposition to nationwide expansion
While expressing support for martial law in the Philippines' southern region, majority of respondents nationwide – except for Mindanaoan respondents – disagreed that the President should also declare military rule in the Visayas and Mindanao.
The survey found that 79% of respondents from the Visayas oppose martial law in their area. They were followed by respondents from Metro Manila (71%) and Balance Luzon (68%).
However, 43% of respondents in Mindanao agreed that military rule should be expanded to the Visayas.
Disagreement on expanding military rule to Luzon was also dominant across the board except for Mindanao respondents.
Metro Manila respondents made up the highest proportion of those who oppose martial law in Luzon, at 79%. They were followed by respondents from Balance Luzon and the Visayas, both at 76%.
Among respondents in Mindanao, 40% agreed while 38% disagreed. The remaining 22% were undecided.
Malacañang welcomed the survey results saying they affirm there was sufficient basis for Duterte's martial law declaration.
"The positive public response indicates that they believe the factual and legal basis of the proclamation of martial law for Mindanao," said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella in a statement sent on Wednesday, July 12.
But in the face of the lack of public support for a nationwide expansion of martial law, Abella said Duterte's decision on this would rely solely on the recommendation of security officials.
"As to the same survey showing that majority, except in Mindanao, opposes expanding martial law in Luzon and in the Visayas, it is noteworthy to mention that all these would depend on the situation on the ground as assessed and recommended by military and police authorities," he said.
Will the President listen to the sentiment of other sectors in society, aside from military and police?
Abella, asked this during a Tuesday news briefing, said, "He’s (Duterte is) a person who listens." – Rappler.com